Domestic Outsourcing and Gendered Time Allocation to Housework Tasks: Substitution, Buyout or Addition?

Lyn Craig, University of New South Wales
Janeen Baxter, University of Queensland

We use the Australian Bureau of Statistics Time Use Survey to examine the effect of using cleaning, laundry or gardening services, and the purchase of restaurant or takeaway meals, on time spent in total domestic labour, and in male and female typed domestic tasks, by each partner in matched dual-earner couples (N=1828). Results suggest domestic outsourcing impacts upon both men and women’s time in domestic labour, with gender differences in which type of outsourcing matters. Dry-cleaning/laundry services and gardener/maintenance services are associated with reductions in men’s domestic labour time, and cleaning services with reductions in women’s domestic labour time. However, the relationship between each type of domestic outsourcing and each individual domestic task is not straightforward. Domestic outsourcing in one area may free women to spend more time in another area of household work, and in some areas high household standards may lead to both high time inputs and outsourcing.

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Presented in Session 80: Time-Use in Households and Families